GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Governor John Hickenlooper has declared January Radon Action Month in Colorado. He's now encouraging homeowners to test for the radioactive gas.
According to a National Health Advisory from the federal government --more than 21,000 Americans die of radon-related lung cancer every year.
A colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that occurs from the natural breakdown of the soil is affecting 50% of properties in Colorado.
"People wonder how this would get into my home --if you have a cracked foundation and it doesn't really matter if it's an old home or a new home. New homes can be placed on property that has radon occurring in it," said Debra Hesse, Cancer Services Resource Manager.
The cancer survivor and healthcare professional is warning --radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
"So people aren't aware of that. Also when we have a patient with lung cancer who's a non-smoker, the first thing we do is check their home for radon."
St. Mary's Regional Cancer Center is providing free radon test kits to homeowners who are wanting to test their home for the radioactive gas.
"It looks like a charcoal or a sponge and we give you instruction on where to set it."
You're supposed to test for radon in the lowest part of your house and sometimes that may mean in your closet.
Place the kit for a few days, away from ventilation and use the winter months to test your home.
"We all have our doors closed, windows closed and so there's no air moving in the house. So we chested in the winter cause that's when your house is closed up and that's where there's the greatest possibility for radon concentration."
Hesse says the gas is found in different parts of the state but some stronger than others.
"Soil that's kind of in the Redlands is kind of a shale soil and they're usually higher levels in that type of soil versus the granite in the Mesa. It would be less likely to find radon in that soil, but it shows you how the whole state of Colorado is at risk."
And if your test may have come back negative a few years ago, she recommends to continue to test your home in the future to avoid any harm.
"We encourage people to maybe very 4 or 5 years run another test and make sure. [Because] houses settle things happen and so you know every four or five years run another test to make sure."
Hesse says she still has about 200 kits left for free.
If you want to find out further information on how you can get your radon kit you can contact Debra Hesse, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (970)-298-2351.